Mark Kleiman, Professor of Public Policy at UCLA, and Paul Romer recently discussed crime and punishment in the United States. Their conversation was motivated by the following observations:
The United States has about four times the homicide rate, and about six times the incarceration rate, of Canada or Western Europe. Both problems are concentrated in cities, and among the socially and economically disadvantaged. Crime is down dramatically over the past two decades, but the prison headcount remains at near-record levels. What is to be done?
For more content related to this discussion read Mark Kleiman's essay, Thinking About Punishment: James Q. Wilson and Mass Incarceration, part of the Marron Institute's working paper series, and Paul Romer's blog post about the paper, The Great Crime Wave & the Tragedy of Mass Incarceration.